Social skills and functional role behaviour in work teams and student-project groups

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This thesis reports the results of a project where two issues related to work teams were investigated. The first was team members’ social skills: an often-mentioned but under-researched issue in the teamwork literature. In particular, this project investigated the relationship existing between team members’ social skills and their intragroup behaviour. It involved 159 members from 36 ongoing work teams completing instruments measuring their social skills and intragroup behaviour. Social skills were measured using Riggio’s (1986; 1989; Riggio & Camey, 2003) Social Skills Inventory (SSI): a self-report instrument measuring six social skills relating to the sending, receiving, and controlling of nonverbal-emotional and verbal-social communication. Intragroup behaviour was peer-assessed, and was measured using Mudrack and Farrell’s (1995) role survey: a survey measuring the enactment of 20 roles from Benne and Sheats’s (1948) functional role typology. Using hierarchal regression analyses (HRAs), a weak pattern of relationships existed between members’ social skills and their peer-assessed role behaviours. Members’ social skills, however, related significantly to some role behaviours—followership in particular. The second issue investigated was generalisability: an issue concerning the use of samples drawn from classroom settings, and the extent to which their results generalise to work teams. It involved comparing the SSI scale-role enactment relationships existing in the workplace setting to those occurring in a classroom setting sample. This classroom sample consisted of 163 undergraduate students who were members of 36 semester-long project groups. Using within- and between-setting HRAs, a similar pattern of SSI scale-role enactment relationships existed in the workplace and classroom settings. Some important differences, however, were discovered, such as those concerning participants’ sensitivity levels and their enactment of individual role behaviours. The results associated with both issues are discussed in relation to their relevant bodies of literature, theory, and their implications for research and practice. Contributions to knowledge and future research directions are also discussed.
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